Orland Park, IL

Mar 19 2003

As a kid, I used to walk up to this bridge quite a bit. I’d then climb down to the creek and follow it to my godfather’s house. There was one backyard that I’d pass that had what seemed to me like a ton of playground equipment, and for some reason I equated it with Wonderland and was equally intrigued by and terrified of it. Anyway, Hiroko and I took ten of my thirteen nieces and nephews up to this bridge to throw twigs into the creek. I remembered a lot of my childhood as I hung out with my nieces and nephews this Easter weekend. I thought back to the times I spent with my own cousins, and tried to equate everything I was seeing in these little kids to something out of my own past. It’s weird because I feel like I’m now a part of the grown-ups in my family, sitting around in the living room and talking calmly, but I also still feel like one of the kids, more than willing to go build Legos or sneak away from everyone and just read my book somewhere. I hope I don’t ever lose the connection I still have with little-kid-me. One thing that has been bothering me is whether these kids have as many chances to be creative as we did. Growing up, my cousins and I had intuitive, simple devices like tape recorders, analog video cameras, and Macintoshes with which to create our own worlds. Those tools played a huge part in shaping the kinds of people we grew up (are growing up) to be. Apple’s iMovie would be great for any kids today looking to make their own movies; I know that we at age 12 would have given anything to be able to do with our analog Handycams the things iMovie does. But there isn’t a single current-generation Macintosh among any of these kids’ families. I also wish there was still a programming environment as brilliantly simple as HyperCard for these kids to discover. We made dozens of games of epic proportions in HyperCard, but I don’t know what a kid would use to make a game today. It’s actually really worrying me that the best chance they might have to get into this kind of creation might be some crappy BASIC compiler on Windows XP and Microsoft Movie Maker.